Friday, August 13, 2010

What are these pins for?

My neuro doc was a little late for our appointment last month and there was little to do in the exam room while we waited.  Read some magazines?  Nah, that’s such a cliché and I was not in the mood to read about the ridiculous lives of our movie stars.  I did what I would normally do:  I took a visual scan of the room. 

First I noticed on the bureau shelf lots of great literature about MS, courtesy of the National MS Society.  I grabbed a bunch of brochures, to share with friends and family.  Someone surely, besides me, wants to read about how stress impacts MS.  “These will be great to hand out during dinner parties”, I thought.  Everything else in the room was boring:  normal exam table, typical doc’s cabinet (what do they store in there anyway?) and a stool with wheels.  Yet, aside from these typical exam room accoutrements, I noticed a picture of the brain sitting on a medical tray table and directly in front it was a little cup filled with safety pins.  Curious.  “What are these pins for?” I asked. My partner and I explored further, picked up the cup of pins and examined its entirety.  We wondered for a few minutes.  We did not have a clue what these were for. This was random, this cup of pins.  Then it hit me.  It’s the only possible reason.  I thought to myself “this room must be shared with a baby doctor and these are used to pin diapers.  What is this 1971?”     

Finally, the exam room door opened and my neuro doc’s assistant arrived.  I welcomed the interruption to my stream of consciousness because I really could not figure out why a neurologist would share an exam room with a gynecologist!  And, besides, this was my chance to find out what these pins were doing there.  I asked, “What are these pins for?  What does the doc use these for?”  My neuro doc’s assistant replied “oh, those are used by the Other Doctor and she uses them on her patients to find out how numb they are”.  WHAT???  She pokes her patients with safety pins???  That’s awful.  I envisioned patients sitting on the exam table while they have pins poked into their bodies and wondered just how far this Other Doctor goes.   Are the pins inserted into a patient until one yells out, “Yes!  I can feel that!”  I got stressed out thinking about this and hoped that this was not a new technique that my neuro doc will begin using.  Or perhaps this is something he’s always done and just forgot to include me.  My neuro doc’s assistant sensed my panic and assured me this is not something I need to worry about.  My neuro doc does not use these pins to determine his patient’s numbness she told me.  Thank goodness.   Now I can look forward to my neuro doc striking that metal instrument along on the bottoms’ of my feet.  YOWZA!!!!!  



  1. LOL You and your partner do same thing I do when made to wait--EXPLORE! I was poked with those pins in an ER. Jerks. The ER Dr-in charge--couldn'r understand why I didn't feel the pokes, even after I TOLD her I had MS for 15 years and had no feeling on that side. Duh.

  2. Duh is right! I can't imagine doctors using this technique. Strange indeed.

  3. So yesterday I went to my neuro doc's buddy to check out my eye and she used the safety pins on me! It didn't hurt, for those that I felt, yet it still has me wondering why I got poked with safety pins! I know these are professionals and that the CNS is very complex, all related, yet it still has me curious.


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